Quick and Healthy Food Options with Quinoa Meals

Quick and Healthy Food Options with Quinoa Meals

Quinoa has exploded on the health scene for some time now. I love it as an alternative to rice where I create my own quinoa bowl, complete with veggies, beans and some avocados, for a satisying and quick dinner option. But this isn’t always the easiest thing to make when I’m out and about, so you could say that I was pretty psyched when I learned about the new Quinoa Meals from Cucina & Amore: Kitchen & Love.

Quick and Healthy Food Options with Quinoa Meals

A family-owned company,Cucina & Amore: Kitchen & Love offers Italian meals where they quickly expanded to offer new products like their innovative Quinoa Meals. The kicker with this product is that it’s a ready-to-eat healthy meal option that comes complete with a cup of fully cooked Quinoa, a sauce to mix in, and a spork for extra convenience. There’s nothing to prep or cook and it doesn’t even need to be refrigerated that can be enjoyed cold or hot. Amazing, right?!

Quick and Healthy Food Options with Quinoa Meals

And as if that’s not enough: there are also tons of varieties to enjoy such as basil pesto (my fave!), mango jalapeño, spicy jalapeño and roasted peppers, and artichoke roasted piquillo that’s a crowd pleaser for kids and adults.

Being a quick and easy product, all you have to do is unwrap the packaging, mix in the sauce (with all of it or a little bit), mix, and enjoy! It really doesn’t get any easier than that! I also love that it’s gluten-free, GMO-free, preservative free, and vegan (except pesto flavor). They are also awesome for travel where you can bring them on planes, road trips, and my personal favorite: an easy lunchtime option that’s compact, mess-free and healthy.

Check out Quinoa Meals at your local grocer; it’s such a great and very easy way to eat healthy when you’re on the go!

Quinoa Meals are available at Wegman’s, Shop Rite, Fairway Market, Stop & Shop, and many more. Our Quinoa Meals are available nationwide at Cost Plus World Market, Super Target, The Fresh Market, select Whole Foods Market regions, and select Costco regions. They are also available online at Thrive Market, Naturebox, Vitacost, and Amazon. Retail price is $3.99-$4.19 depending on the store and possible sale promotions.

For more information, please visit: http://www.cucinaandamore.com/quinoa.html

We were provided with samples for review. All opinions, as always, are our own.

Continue Reading

Healthy Smoothie Yogurt Bowl with Chia Seeds

I’m really trying to be better about having breakfast. Dubbed forever as ‘the most important meal of the day,’ I notice that I get super cranky or my stomach has a life of its own if I don’t eat something in the AM. With three kids, I try to make sensible options (for both of us) by making a weekly homemade smoothie with spinach, berries, bananas, avocado, and coconut water that gives them some veggies at the start of their day. For myself, I’ve been upgrading the smoothie a bit by creating something more substantial in the form of my own smoothie bowl. In addition to the smoothie, I’ll add in some yogurt, OatBox granola and chia seeds for the perfect combo of nutrients, antioxidants and fiber. Check out one of my go-to recipes, featuring Oatbox, a new monthly breakfast subscription company that delivers monthly-curated boxes of natural, healthy and delicious granola mixes and Carrington Farms Chia Seeds, one of the highest plant-based sources of protein, fiber and Omega 3s.

Smoothie Yogurt Bowl with Chia Seeds

Smoothie Yogurt Bowl with Chia Seeds


1/3 cup blueberries
1/2 cup blackberries
1 cup homemade smoothie (combo of coconut water, avocado, frozen berries, banana and spinach)
1 Tbsp + 1/4 tsp Carrington Farms Chia Seeds
1 cup of Oatbox 

healthy Smoothie Yogurt Bowl with Chia Seeds


Place frozen berries, frozen spinach, 1/2 avocado, 1 banana and around two cups of coconut water into a blender. Blend until you reach your desired consistency. Pour into a bowl and layer up your ingredients, which includes fresh berries, yogurt, nuts, granola and chia seeds. So easy and so good!


We were provided with some samples for review. All opinions, as always, are our own.

Continue Reading

Soul’-stice BBQ to Benefit The Beagle Freedom Project

Soul'-stice BBQ to Benefit The Beagle Freedom Project

Happy Summer! We are ready to get out eat on, healthfully, of course! To kick-off the season, we are excited to let you know about an awesome charity event where you can enjoy some delicious vegan eats and save puppies!  Held on Thursday, June 29 from 4:00 pm -11:30 pm to benefit the Beagle Freedom Project, the ‘Soul’-stice BBQ will include a 100% vegan-themed night, whipped up by Pamela Elizabeth. Check out how to score tickets, and the delicious menu below:

Soul’-stice BBQ to Benefit The Beagle Freedom Project

Urban Vegan Kitchen
41 Carmine Street
Thursday, June 29
4:00 pm – 11:30 pm
Amuse bouche
Watermelon cubelet, ‘feta’ cheese, balsamic drizzle
Loaded Corn Salad:
grilled romaine, cornbread croutons, alabama white bbq drizzle

Rack-less BBQ ‘Ribs’:
smoky potato salad, collard greens, grilled artichoke hearts

Churros Split Sundae
cinnamon spiced ice cream, chocolate & caramel sauce, whipped cream, bourbon soaked cherry

Desserts by @COCOAVNYC & libations by @LALAVONRIOT

Tickets ($45) are available on Eventbrite.


Continue Reading

Boxed Water’s Social Reforestation Campaign

Boxed Water's Social Reforestation Campaign #ReTree
As I’ve mentioned, I love to support companies that do their part to give back. Whether big or small, these incentives allow consumer to better understand bigger issues and how they can impact us all. One such company that is doing their part-both as a brand and through the partners the support-is Boxed Water. With a motto “Boxed Water is Better,” Boxed Water was created with a simple mission to offer an alternative to plastic drinking water, making a product that is more environmentally-friendly. Essentially just water and a box, Boxed Water is 100% recyclable, shipped flat to help reduce offset the carbon footprint, and made with a minimal design (no excessive paper). And what about the water itself? It’s made with an 8-step purification process to ensure that it’s free of impurities and minerals and that the pH levels are very close to neutral.
Boxed Water's Social Reforestation Campaign #ReTree
Boxed Water's Social Reforestation Campaign #ReTree
boxed water nyc event
During a recent event in NYC, I not only had the opportunity to try out the water (it’s good!) but to also learn more about the company and their partnership with the National Forest Foundation and their #ReTree social reforestation campaign.  Through this social media incentive, they are working to protect the planet by planting one million trees within the next five years. And we can all participate! Simply post on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter featuring Boxed Water using the hashtag #ReTree and Boxed Water will plant two trees. You can also subscribe to their newsletter where they will plant two trees on your behalf or purchase online and they will plant six trees. How easy is that?!
To learn more about Boxed Water and their sustainable practices, be sure to visit: https://boxedwaterisbetter.com/pages/retree
Continue Reading

Summertime Sides from Organic Kids L.A

Lazy summer weekends are around the corner. One of the cornerstones of this time are BBQ’s and with Father’s Day right around the corner, we are definitly inspired to get our grill on. One way to get get kids involved is to have them help out with the cooking. To inspire young chefs, we are sharing two summertime sides from Lisa Rotondi of Organic Kids L.A, a company that provides lunches to preschool, elementary, middle and high school students throughout the greater Los Angeles area. Read on to check out some of these awesome healthy and easy to create side dishes.

Summertime Sides

Summertime Sides

Organic Summer Succotash Edamame Salad:

· 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
· 1 medium organic onion, chopped
· 1 bag (1 pound) shelled organic edamame, thawed
· 1 bag (1 pound) frozen organic corn, thawed, or 3 cups fresh-cut organic corn kernels (from about 4 ears)
· 2 large ripe organic plum tomatoes, diced
· 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
· 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
· 1/4 cup minced organic fresh chives or basil

Heat the oil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until softened but not browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the edamame and corn and cook, turning often, until heated through, about 7 minutes. Stir in the tomato, salt and pepper. Let cool and then chill if packing in a lunch box. When ready to serve, stir in the chives or basil.

Organic Fresh Squeezed Lemonade

· Lemons
· Water
· Sugar
· Simple Syrup

Squeeze the lemon juice through a hand presser. Mix 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar. Boil the water and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Let the simple syrup cool.
Mix the remaining 6 cups of water, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Add ice and enjoy!

For more information, please visit: http://www.organickidsla.com

Continue Reading

Easy, Healthy Quinoa Recipe

easy healthy quinoa recipe: vegan and simple

Our lives are moving faster where fast food has become the norm to getting dinner on the go. But we are here to tell you that you can still enjoy a quick meal, except the ones that we’re into are way healthier, cheaper and won’t make you feel like slug after. One of our go-to quick dishes is a vegan quinoa dish that’s layered with quinoa, spinach (or a veggie of your choice), beans, squash or sweet potatoes, coconut oil, salt, pepper and an avocado. And if you make a big enough batch, you just have to plop it in your fridge and heat it up again! Oh, and the beauty of this dish is that you can add in whatever ingredients you prefer for a simple, vegan dish that’s wholesome and pretty delicious. It doesn’t get any easier than that. For this specific recipe, we tested out the Carrington Farms’ Coconut Oil Paks, a really convenient single use pack of organic unrefined cold-pressed coconut oil. This packs don’t require any refrigeration and can be used in your recipes (like this one) or in tons of other on-the-go coconut oil needs like adding them to smoothies or your coffee or even as a moisturizer or hair conditioner.

Quick and Easy Quinoa Dish

2 cups of quinoa
3 cups of frozen or fresh spinach (or whatever veg you dig)
1 cup of frozen squash or 1 whole sweet potato
coconut oil
salt and pepper
1/2 avocado
1 can of organic black beans (or bean of your choice)


Bring water to a boil as directed on your quinoa package. Add in the quinoa when the water is boiled. Rinse your beans and add them in, along with the squash. If your including a sweet potato, you’ll need to start this part at least 50 minutes prior for the baking process. Add in your coconut oil, salt and pepper, let cook and stir periodically. Once done (around 30 minutes or so), turn off your flame and top the quinoa dish with some coconut oil and some sliced avocado! Enjoy

We were provides samples of the coconut oil for review. All opinions are our own.

Continue Reading

5 Ways to Use Cara Cara and Blood Oranges Around the Home

Using Cara Cara and Blood oranges Around the Home:

Did you know that you can do so much more with oranges then just eat them? Of course we love them as a healthy snack, but we just learned even more ways to use Cara Cara and Blood oranges around the home from Limoneira. Read on to check out more ways to use this versatile fruit below:

Using Cara Cara and Blood Oranges Around the Home:

Deodorize: Squeeze the juice of a Cara Cara or blood orange and the juice of one lemon into the liquid detergent compartment. Run the dishwasher while empty and set to steam dry. The citric acid in the fruit will help neutralize the odor, leaving your kitchen smelling sweeter in no time!

Exfoliate: A good face scrub is a key component in any skincare routine. Take 2 TBSP coconut oil, ½ a juiced Cara Cara or blood orange, and ¾ cup coarse sugar. Mix together and use as an exfoliating scrub on clean hands or on your body.

Hydrate: Did you know that Vitamin C is good for your hair, as well as you skin? Create an orange-lemon rinse using: ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice, 1 tsp lemon juice, 1 cup warm water and 1 teaspoon honey. After straining the lemon and orange juice for pulp, add all ingredients together. After shampooing your hair as normal, pour the orange-lemon rinse into your hair slowly, massaging it into your scalp and working it through the hair to the ends. Leave in for 5-10 minutes and rinse thoroughly. Your healthy, shiny hair will thank you!

Clean: What you’ll need: a glass jar, citrus peels (two oranges, one grapefruit and one lemon), white vinegar and a clear spray bottle. Simply trim away as much of the white pith as possible from the citrus peels and place in a jar. Pour in enough white vinegar to cover the peels and cover the top of the jar. Let this mixture sit for 1-2 weeks, or until the vinegar has turned dark orange. It should also smell of oranges – if it doesn’t, allow it to sit longer and/or add more peels. Shake the jar every 2 days to speed the process – then, transfer to spray bottle and use as desired.

Snack: Of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t recommend simply snacking on these delicious citrus fruits from time to time. Eating an orange a day can go a long way towards keeping your skin and hair healthy!

Looking for more recipes? Subscribe to Limoneira’s Youtube channel for more information on the many ways this endlessly versatile fruit can improve life inside the home and beyond.


Continue Reading

Book Review: 28-Day Plant-Powered Healthy Reboot

28-Day Plant-Powered Health Reboot book

There are aspects in all of our lives that we want to change, in one way or another. While some things may seem out of our control, there are many things that we can change with the right tools, motivation and help. Once such aspect is changing the way we eat (remember that New Year’s resolution?!). For us at Wellness Patterns, this means less sugar and more wholesome foods without feeling restricted a.k.a miserable all day long.

To help us out, we recently got tons of awesome advice from the new book, 28-Day Plant-Powered Health Reboot. Developed by registered dietitians, celebrated bloggers behind Food Heaven Made Easy and bi-coastal best friends (love that!) Jessica Jones and Wendy Lopez created a non-intimidating guide to a calorie-controlled, budget-friendly, and vegetarian approach to hitting the reset button and revving-up your body’s natural detoxification process. Over the course of their 28-day plan, Jones and Lopez attest that their program can help detoxify the body as you learn how to fuel your body with delicious and wholesome plant-based meals.

This includes tons of helpful sample meal plans, grocery lists, and mouth-watering recipes–all designed to empower the reader to get organized and find the best plan for your taste preferences and lifestyle. A fantastic primer if you want to better understood food, the book kicks off with an informative guide to calories, nutrients, and the plant-based lifestyle. And, and of course, our favorite part – the book is filled with 100 amazing recipes that are around 300 and 500 calories per meal and designed to be “simple, delicious, nutritious, and fun.” This include Savory Quinoa Egg Muffins, Sweet Potato Burrito Bowl with Green Rice, Quick and Easy Huevos Rancheros Tostadas, Chewy Cranberry Energy Balls and much more!

A comprehensive guide to resetting your body, eating right and feeling amazing, this one must-have book to check out as you kick-off your 2017 goals.


Continue Reading

5 Foods to Boost Your Immune System

5 Foods to Boost Your Immune System

This weather sucks! From the constant colds to the dreary weather, it’s no wonder that we find ourselves hibernating, counting down the days to spring. Since part of our wellbeing depends on how we treat ourselves, it’s crucial to fuel our bodies with immune boosting vitamins and minerals found in a whole food diet. To help us out, Sara Siskind, Certified Nutritional Health Counselor and founder of Hands on Healthy has come up with five of her favorite immune boosting foods you can add into your diet to help you feel your best all winter long. Read on to check out some of her favorites:

5 Foods to Boost Your Immune System

1. Eat colorful fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins and minerals. Reach for red and pink grapefruits, oranges, kiwis, and berries. Choose cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts. These fruits and veggies are not only loaded with essential vitamins and phytonutrients, but they are also rich in antioxidants which give your immune system a boot and help build up your digestive track.

2. Add in pistachios as a heart healthy, protein rich snack. Pistachios are also rich in antioxidants and the heart healthy fats to help your body absorb vitamin E. Vitamin E is needed by the immune system to fight off invading bacteria. Pistachios are also rich in vitamin B6 which also helps prevent infection and create healthy red blood cells your body needs. We love the Setton Farms Pistachio Chewy Bites that we pop into our bag when we are on-the-go.

3. Look for omega 3 fatty acids and selenium which are found in shellfish, salmon, mackerel, and herring. These foods help white blood cells produce a protein which helps clear flu viruses out of the body. Omega 3 fatty acids reduce inflammation in the body by clearing the lungs pathways. This can help protect from colds and respiratory infections.

4. Make yogurt your go-to breakfast or snack. Yogurt contains probiotics; “healthy bacteria” that your body needs to keep your immune system strong and keeps your digestive free of disease causing germs. Yogurt is also filled with protein that keeps your body energized and strong.

5. Spice up your food with turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon. These spices are especially known to contain antioxidants that help to protect your cells and keep inflammation in the body down. I add turmeric to soups, eggs, rice, and poultry. Fresh grated ginger brings warmth to any beverage. Cinnamon can be sprinkled on oatmeal, cereal, yogurt, and easily added to anything you bake.

Continue Reading

New Healthy Restaurant in California: Wild Living Foods

Wild Living Foods: Neo-Pueblo, Plant-Based Restaurant in L.A.
Basil pesto kelp pasta. Photo courtesy of Wild Living Foods

We are so excited about the opening of a new healthy food restaurant over in Los Angeles. husband and wife team Richard Torres and Lizbeth Sanchez, Wild Living Foods is a casual and stylish “Neo-Pueblo” inspired plant-based all-day restaurant. The concept is inspired by the couple’s “Food Is Spirit” philosophy, with the goal of educating others about the power of clean food and its healing qualities.

Wild Living Foods
Black Sesame milkshake. Photo courtesy of Wild Living Foods

More about Wild Living Foods

With over 40-years of combined experience cooking gourmet plant-based cuisine, the culinary team is led by executive chef Belinda Wei, chef de cuisine Alex Gomez, and sous chef Abel Gomez (husband of Alex). Serving a diverse menu including dishes such as warm kelp noodle pasta, quinoa bowls, and signature salads like Ojai Ranch and medicinal herb salads, all dishes will highlight local, organic ingredients. Wild Living Foods will also feature a wide variety of grab-n-go items made fresh each day, throughout the day, giving locals living and working in Downtown LA and adjacent neighborhoods the opportunity to eat clean, feel energized, and keep powering through their busy schedules.

Wild Living Foods Portobello burger
Portobello burger. Photo courtesy of Wild Living Foods
Wild Living Foods
Healthy sweets. Courtesy of Wild Living Foods

Spearheading the beverage program is Santino Rice, best known for his appearances on Project Runway, On The Road With Austin & Santino and RuPaul’s Drag Race. In line with Wild Living Foods philosophy that “Food is Spirit” with medicinal benefits, Rice is introducing a wide assortment of: juices and tonics that target various improving digestion, building natural immunities, and detoxification; healing elixirs that assist with one’s mood, performance, and breathing; and creamy milkshakes made with power foods and activated smoothies made with superfoods and other active ingredients.

Gorgeous decor at Wild Living Foods.
Gorgeous decor at Wild Living Foods.

The 2,800-square-foot-space features a bright and beautiful Neo-Pueblo design, anchored by a large, multi-wall, hand-painted mural by artist Jaque Fragua from Jemez Pueblo, New Mexico. His work features elements inspired from traditional Native American ceramics, blankets, and other motifs of traditional design, bridging Neo-Pueblo aesthetic with the all-natural, earth-based dishes offered. In addition, owners Liz and Richard worked with local artisans and craftspersons to create many of the other unique and stunning design elements by-hand, including the entire back wall of Wild Living Foods which is covered with reclaimed wood from vintage wine barrels, hand-cut and stained. In addition, the space features original 1928 vintage Malibu Potteries tiles running along the salad and remedy bars. Malibu Potteries tiles – were only produced in limited supply at the original factory just east of Malibu Pier, from 1926-1932 – are famous for also gracing countless historic homes and buildings in Los Angeles, including the Adamson House, The Mayan Theatre, and Los Angeles City Hall.

Wild Living Foods Info:

Wild Living Foods
760 Main Street
Los Angeles, CA 90014

Wild Living Foods will be open seven days a week: Monday-Friday, 8am-Midnight; Saturday, 9am-Midnight; Sunday, 9am-7pm. For more information visit http://www.wildlivingfoods.com/. Check them out on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @wildlivingfoods for current updates.

Continue Reading